Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers: A Modern Rivalry

Crowd at Eels v Tigers game. Photo: NRL.com

This afternoon, the Wests Tigers will face the Parramatta Eels for their fifth annual Easter Monday clash. A young tradition in the game however one that has grabbed the attention of many fans as this rivalry between the two clubs continues to heat up, year after year.

For many fans, the Easter Monday nay, any Wests v Parramatta match – is one to not miss.

Monday, April 17th 2017 was a heated tug-o-war between the two sides in a roaring ANZ Stadium (now Stadium Australia). Current Eels halfback Mitchell Moses, donned the number 6 for the Tigers even scoring a try, but just a month later he would become an Eel after requesting a release.

Moses departure from Wests left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the fans, many alleging that he had thrown in the towel so he would be released from the final months of his contract to join the Eels sooner.

His first game against Wests came in the same year, just nine weeks after the first Easter Monday match where he was welcomed to the field by an eruption of boos – something he would come to get used to when playing his former club.

Both teams left the field that day, after Corey Norman secured the win for the Eels with a late field goal, with a fire in their bellies eager for the next head to head.

Easter Monday 2018, the Wests Tigers took home the bragging rights winning 30-20 and Parramatta went on to claim the wooden spoon at the conclusion of the season. Much to the enjoyment of many Tigers fans.

In 2019, the rivalry would be taken to the next level with the opening of Bankwest Stadium. A stadium that Parramatta would call their only home but one that the Tigers too would also call a home.

This led to an array of social media ‘banter’ between fans and even the official club Twitter accounts.

On Easter Monday, April 22nd, Mitchell Moses made his mark on Bankwest and in the hearts of the blue and gold army everywhere.

He scored the first try, kicked the first goal and kicked the first field goal in a dominate performance against his former club. The image of Moses screaming after scoring that first try is an image that will be used in rugby league history for many, many years to come – haunting the Tigers fans.

The 2020 off-season gave Wests Tigers fans many reasons to speak as Ryan Matterson controversially signed a three year deal with their rivals, after only one season with their team.

It was a messy departure which the media and fans continue to speculate about what actually happened, a question that we may never know the true answer to.

However, many rugby league fans wear their hearts on their sleeves and no matter the circumstances, many did not respect his departure. Nor do they respect the digs at the club that he and Moses have made since leaving.

More fuel to the fire.

In his first game against his old club, Matterson was victim to a monster Russell Packer hit. A legal hit that however unfortunately left Matterson sidelined for a few weeks with a concussion.

In the final regular round of the season, Matterson was given a second chance to one up his old club however, both it was teams competing viciously as they both had so much on the line. If the rivalry wasn’t enough, the Tigers were departing club legends Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence and Parramatta were fighting for a fourth place spot.

The game went down the wire with Parramatta only grabbing the win by four points but the Tigers made sure to remind the likes of Moses and Matterson just how they felt about them.

And now we are here today, Monday April 6th 2021.

Both Matterson and Moses have recovered from respective concussions to take on their rivals. The game, originally scheduled to take place at Bankwest but moved to Stadium Australia by Wests, is bound to be a heated one.

Parramatta are looking to secure their fourth win of the season and the Tigers are looking at going back to back to silence their constantly vocal doubters.

Since 2017 the Tigers have only beaten Parramatta once – in 2018. Parramatta are looking for their sixth straight win against the boys from Balmain.

The NRL is the home of many rivalries. The most obvious of course being South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters however, there are many new rivalries that have been bubbling under the surface the past few years.

While the Manly Sea Eagles will most likely forever be the ultimate rivalry for Parramatta, many fans find themselves getting most enjoyment from beating the boys in the black and orange.

After all, not every rivalry requires a long history. These days some just require a whole lot of social media drama.

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